AdvertisementMedia companies raise concerns over TV election debates plan

Media companies raise concerns over TV election debates plan

“There cannot, and will not, be a panel discussion unless there is agreement to do so from all relevant parties and media organisations,” Mr. Morton said. “On this basis, agreement on the founding principles … is a prerequisite for the establishment of the commission.”

The rules include the requirement that one debate be in a regional location, one in Canberra and no debates take place on a Sunday. The rules also state that two interviews broadcast on the same night by one program count as a debate and that “no worm” can be added to a broadcaster who records audience approval or disapproval in real time.

It also requires that committee agreements be based on consensus and that all group deliberations be confidential.

Mr Morton said the commission would be run by 10 people – two representatives from both the Liberal and Labor parties, an independent commissioner appointed by the government and one by the opposition, and two delegates from broadcast media companies. The CEO of the National Press Club and president of the gallery will also sit on the board of directors under current plans. Mr. Morton requested that all parties agree to the proposed grounds and framework by November 22.

News Corp Australia, publisher Australian, The Daily Telegraph And Herald Sun and Sky News owner, declined to comment, but raised concerns about the proposal in particular.

Ms. Veer said commercial broadcasters have several key interests including the number of media companies represented on the panel. “There needs to be representation from all Australian broadcasters, a clear decision-making structure, and both government and opposition should stick to the process initially,” she said.

Commercial broadcasters are also concerned that the government will prevent them from registering audience approval.

The National Press Gallery shares this concern. A draft letter to Mr. Morton from the National Press Gallery, which has been circulated to the National Press Club Board of Directors and seen by this address, supports the creation of the commission but suggests several ways to improve the model.

“We have a free media,” the letter said in response to proposed restrictions on public opinion polls. SBS and ABC declined to comment.

Federal Liberal Party director Andrew Hurst said he supported the proposal, but the ALP had not yet made a decision on its position. The National Press Gallery is also reluctant to agree to the proposed rules, according to people familiar with the matter.

The proposal differs from the way other committees work abroad. In the United States, debates are moderated by a not-for-profit presidential debate committee, and the two major parties have no input on the rules and do not sit on the board.

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